I love the holidays! I love the craziness of the stores, the music on the radio, the smell of cookies baking, the packages under the tree, and the details of Christmas. I love walking to the mailbox and finding it stuffed with Christmas cards! I know many who have quit sending them, but most of my friends and family still take the time to send us greetings every Christmas. But, most of all, I love spending time with family and friends and taking the time to celebrate the real reason for the season.
“The holiday season is the perfect time to reflect on our blessings and seek out ways to make life better for those around us.” Terri Marshall
I have discussed my participation with The Lord’s Pantry at Anna’s House in Indianapolis in previous blogs. I am secretary of the board of directors and try to be there every week serve dinner on Wednesday evenings to the families of Stringtown, just west of the zoo. Every year, we do a “Saturday with Santa,” where the children of Anna’s house are invited with their families to visit with Santa and have their pictures taken. Santa gives them a candy cane and a twisted pen (I donate my time bending them, and Bentcil on the west side of Indianapolis donates the supplies for them). The children are taken to “Santa’s Workshop” with a “Santa’s helper” where they can pick out 2-3 toys, a book and they also receive a hat, a pair of gloves, and a scarf to keep them warm. The students of Roncoli High School donate stockings filled with goodies including a coloring book and crayons, stickers, shampoo or body wash and candy, animal crackers and fruit snacks. It is truly the highlight of my holiday season. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the children makes me realize that the hours I spend bending pens, reaching out for toy donations and this year, my company donated the candy canes for Santa to give away, are so worth it. Giving back to those less fortunate does make Christmas extra special.
During the next few weeks, try to carve out some time to work on your goals for 2017. Take the time to write them and review them a couple of times. What do you want to accomplish next year? You have to know what you want to plan how to do it. “
“Make New Year’s goals. The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” Warren McLaren
Goals are important for several reasons. If you do not set goals, you will have no idea what direction to you are heading. You will not know how you are doing. And, you will know if you’ve made it!
I try to follow a few basic principles when doing my goal planning, both professionally and personally. Those principles are:
Keep them Simple
Keep your goal simple, short and concise. You should know what you want to do and have an idea of how you are going to achieve them.
Keep them S.M.A.R.T.
Most of you know what S.M.A.R.T. stands for:
S – Specific
Be specific. Instead of writing, “I want to get some new clients this year,” state your goal as “I want to obtain two new clients per month for a total of 24 new clients in 2017”. Being specific creates the awareness that you need to work hard every month to obtain at least two clients per month to reach your 2017 goal.
M – Measurable
Along with being specific, your goal should be measurable. Instead of “I want to make more money,” you need to know how much you made this year, (and “not enough” is not the answer!) You should know how much money a client is worth. If a client is worth $10,000 per year and you want to make $100,000 more this year, then adding 10-12 clients will help you achieve your goal.
A – Attainable
If no one in your field has ever made a million dollars, then chances are your goal of making a million dollars is not a goal that is attainable. Know your market. Stay up to date in your field by taking continuing education class and reading books and articles.
R – Realistic
If you made $50,000.00 this year, then truthfully, your goal of making $500,000 isn’t realistic unless you work hard and land some key clients who will push your numbers up drastically. Being realistic while setting your goals will keep you working hard and won’t leave you disappointed when you miss reaching them at this time next year.
T – Time-Bound
I know you’ve heard this over and over, but it is so true – “A goal without a date is just a dream.” Each one of your goals must have an end date. Instead of saying, “I want to exercise and lose weight”, which I do, a better goal would be, “I want to exercise 3x week and lose 25 pounds by June 1st.”
Place Your Goals Where You Will See Them
For you to work at achieving your goals, you must know them, see them and work on them regularly. Writing them down and placing the list in a desk drawer will mean that next December, you will review them and wonder why you didn’t meet any of your goals this year. Review them weekly. Change them as needed. Take great joy is meeting each goal! If you do a dream board, also do an achievement board. Place your completed goals on your achievement board.
My challenge for you over the next two weeks is as follows:
My challenge is two-fold:
First of all enjoy your holidays. Reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while and simply say “hi.” Relax and entertain your family and friends. Enjoy the lights, the music, and the food, but keep in mind the real meaning of Christmas. Ask your family to join you for your Christmas Eve service and worship as a family.
Secondly, take the time during the next two weeks to work on your goals. As you sip your champagne on New Year’s Eve, know what you have in store for 2017. Don’t let yourself start the year with a clear plan in place. Make 2017 your best year yet!!
Have a truly blessed week!
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